Gooden Center
A residential drug treatment center for men located in Pasadena, CA. The Gooden Center is a proud member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

(626) 356-0078
191 North El Molino Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 US

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Archive for the ‘Christian Based Recovery’ Category

Using the Holiday Season As Motivation

Posted on: January 20th, 2015 by The Gooden Center No Comments

One of the best ways to help yourself and support your healing is to help other people.  Doing good for others fills your day with good feelings of gratefulness from people you helped, takes your mind off your own problems, and gives your life meaning.

Thus, finding opportunities that resonate with your values and make the world a better place is an essential part of long-term recovery.  The holiday season can often be an especially helpful time to find ways to be of service to others.  Here are a few ways you can use the holidays and the spirit of the season to find ways to do good for others.

1. Think about what Gifts You can Give

Lots of cultures have holiday traditions that revolve around giving presents, or hospitality, or other tangible gifts to others. Sometimes this can become a stressful thing, as you stress out over finding the “perfect” gift and end up losing focus on the true meaning of gift giving – showing love and appreciation to someone else.

A recent study by Adam Grant and Jane Dutton found that people were far more likely to be generous if they spent time thinking about times they had been giving in the past.  Reflecting on the joy you can bring to someone with a simple gift can be a powerful incentive to think of other ways you can contribute to the world.   

2. Look For Opportunities To Give Back

Whether it’s on “Giving Tuesday,” or through toy drives, special holiday dinners, or other special community events, many groups that are doing good things take advantage of the holiday season to increase their visibility.  Local newspapers, radio stations, and community events web sites will probably be filled with opportunities for you to volunteer and help.  

Try to find something that resonates with you in particular, and then just try going out and doing it.  You may find whole new passions and life-meaning created out of the experience.

3. Practice An Attitude Of Gratitude

Becoming aware of how much you have to be grateful for can help you realize how much you have to offer someone else. Keep a gratitude journal, or a reminder of things you have to be thankful for.  This will in turn help you realize not everyone has the privileges you do, and this in turn can enlarge your giving spirit.  

It could be a tangible material possession, but could also be a sense of joy, peace, connections with others, or an ability to create.  Whatever it is that you find yourself being thankful for, take time to also think about ways you can share that gift with others.  

4. Holiday Traditions And Their Deeper Meaning

It’s very easy for the stress related to holiday observances to distract from the reasons these holidays exist in the first place. No matter how busy or stressful things are getting, take time to reflect more deeply on what the holidays mean to you.

Think about the needs of the world, and bring them to the sense of hope, family, light, and promise that the holidays offer.  One of the best ways to connect the holiday to its deeper purpose is to make it about the good you can do for others.  

5. Reach Out To Other People 

The holidays are often observed very publicly and part of wider celebrations of joy.  Strangers may be more likely to interact with each other.  As you are comfortable from your culture and your personality, pay attention to other people’s openness to you, and seek to learn about others.

 Simply greeting people, wishing them a happy holiday, and taking the time to get to know them or hear their story will enlarge your own view of human experience, and help you think about ways you can be of service. 

Aligning Body, Mind and Spirit

Posted on: December 11th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 Aligning Body, Mind and Spirit

 At first glance, addiction may seem like mostly a physical issue – something you’re putting in your body. However, as satisfying an addiction becomes an all-consuming obsession affecting your every thought, continued drug use can have very devastating impacts on your mind, your body, and on the whole person.  

Your health, mental functioning, relationships, and every aspect of your self become dysfunctional and out of alignment. This means that the process of recovery has to also be holistic, meaning that it goes after every aspect of your self, pursuing healing in all areas of body, mind, and spirit.  

Recovery programs rooted in the rich traditions of seeking to follow Jesus offer many invaluable resources to help someone in the throws of addiction heal and receive “life abundantly” (John 10:10).  

It’s Not Just About Staying Stopped

Although it may seem like the most urgent problem in your life while under its grip, addiction often develops as a coping mechanism and a way of masking deeper issues and hurts. Drug dependence both comes out of and builds up faulty “core values,” or the thoughts and beliefs we use to solve problems, cope with life, and bring relief.  

That is why full recovery is not only an issue of building up will power, but of healing the whole person and correcting these core-beliefs.  Getting rid of your addiction is going to mean abandoning these faulty thought patterns and beliefs.

Christian teaching about God’s love for you and the truth of who you are in Christ can fill the void left by abandoning these untruths, giving you something to truly stand on in living a successful, healthy, sober life.   

Caring for Your Body is good for the Soul

God has created your body to be as a vessel to contain your soul.  We are not floating, disembodied spirits unaffected by the physical world. Rather, our bodies are the central way we receive and respond to God’s work in the world. It is only through our bodies that we are able to live, pray, help others, and it is only through our bodies that we fall into patterns of addiction.  

The unhealthy, all-consuming roller-coaster lifestyle of craving, use, inhibition, and withdraw wrecks havoc on both your physical self and the state of your soul.  Replacing that pattern with a healthy pattern of regular sleep, healthy eating, doing things that lead to a happy and fulfilling life, active physical activity, and doing good things for others, are all ways to care for your body.  

This sets up patterns to learn how to love and care for yourself, and this mindset of self-love that is going to be essential as you change your lifestyle to be more in line with your body’s, mind’s, and spirit’s needs.  

Working Towards Balance

Many people in recovery have found prayer to be a vital part of their recovery program.  Christians in particular believe that personal transformation occurs when the Holy Spirit works in a soul surrendered to God.  Having an active spiritual life realigns your thinking to what really matters, replacing the lies addiction tells you with the truth of how deeply you are loved by God.

Active spirituality is just a part of a pie that should go into your recovery. Build up your physical health by sleeping, eating, and being active helps you gain the strength to pursue healing.  Build up your mental health by taking up new activities and challenges, occupying your mind and reminding yourself you are capable of being much more than an addict.  

Through the support of both professional counselors and peer support groups, get in touch with your emotional, social, and mental health, using supportive relationships to create a safe space for learning about yourself and surmounting challenges. Living this way, in balanced alignment and careful self-care in all these areas of human thriving is going to be the best way to truly come out of recovery stronger and more hopeful than ever. 

photo credit: Hugo Kerr via Unsplash

Fieldy Finds The Lord in Recovery

Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Reginald Arvizu is known by his stage name Fieldy.  He brought a noteworthy blend of slapping and fingerstyle bass playing to the band Korn, catapulting it into a world famous and extremely influential rock band, credited with inventing the “nu metal” style of music, an aggressive blend of punk and heavy metal with hip hop grooves and dissonant sounds.  

Like many successful artists in the music industry, wild partying and drug use characterized Korn’s and Fieldy’s lifestyle, leaving him stuck in the throws of addiction. However, through aggressive work on his recovery, and the positive influence of a newfound Christian faith, Fieldy has gotten a second chance to live life again, clean and sober.

In 2010, Fieldy published a book Got My Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn, in which he offers a brutally truthful account of how his faith rescued him from a deeply destructive lifestyle.

The Struggles of Childhood  

Like many people who struggle with addiction, Fieldy grew up with seeing substance abuse as a daily reality.  His parents drank heavily, encouraging the young Reginald to start drinking as a very young child. His parents hosted many parties and drink heavily, which would make them become violent and abusive.

As a teenager, he responded to pain caused by his parents’ divorce by repressing his pain and drinking heavily. Even has his musical ability and notoriety grew, he “never spent a day sober,” taking speed as a way to maintain the skinny “look” popular among hair metal bands at the time.  When his band Korn became a massive success, it allowed his drug use to reach new destructive heights.

Consequences Sink In

In an interview with Tim Branson on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Fieldy reflected that, under the influence of drugs, “I became really mean… I was triggered easily to become violent.”   Seeing a destroyed hotel room after a night of wild partying would create feelings of shame and guilt, as well as shaking and vomiting from “coming down.”  

To calm down, he abused Zanax and Ambian to calm down, then turning to marijuana and alcohol as the night progressed, a cycle that lead to a state of perpetual “buzz.”  

The Path of Recovery and Finding God

This was a buzz that kept him from dealing with his internal heartbreak.  The turning point for him came when his father was diagnosed with cancer.  From him, Fieldy had seen firsthand how being “born again” and embracing the Christian faith could radically transform a life.

Under the influence of his father, Fieldy converted to Christianity, a decision that proved to be the beginning of transforming his lifestyle to one of recovery and sobriety. “I was forced to think about my life…what I’m doing to myself and what I’m leaving behind.”

Forgiveness

He prayed to be set free from all the substance abuse issues that had enslaved him, and then spend a year asking for forgiveness from all the people he had hurt.  Accepting grace for himself from Christ made a huge difference, allowing him to experience a life free from the throws of addiction, and with forgiveness for the pain he caused under its influence.  

For a while, Fieldy says he struggled with guilt, or thinking himself unforgivable, demonstrating the hopelessness that keeps many addicts from feeling like they can change. His Christian faith has assured him that God has forgiven him, helping him to recognize that he can forgive himself, seek the forgiveness of others, and recognize that “I’m still a work in progress,” never letting mistakes keep him from growing and recovering.

Applying Christian Values in Recovery

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Within almost any religious faith, there are people who have found resources for working on recovery from addiction within that tradition.  Addiction is about living an out of control and powerless life, and so our healing can be greatly helped through an understanding of God, someone more powerful then us to whom we can surrender control and through whom we can be empowered.   

That it why many addiction recovery programs strongly agree with Alcoholics Anonymous that the process of recovery should be thought of as “spiritual experience,” and always open to the influence of a “Power greater then themselves.”   The teachings and values of the Christian tradition can certainly offer a lot of wisdom to someone seeking recovery from addiction.

 Here are a few ways that a person of the Christian faith can think about his or her beliefs as vital resources in the struggle for sobriety.  

Grace, Forgiveness, and Sanctification

A core belief of Christianity is that, through Christ’s death on the cross, “You have been freed from sin and enslaved to God…For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”  (Romans 6:22-23).  In other words, we do not and cannot earn salvation from our sins, but because God loves us, His Son paid the penalty for our sins, and set us free from them, giving us undeserved grace instead of punishment.

 However, this does not mean that we can continue to a sinful life, because forgiveness also transforms us and redeems us to live a righteous life for God.  This was perhaps best communicated in Luke 8, when Jesus encountered a woman that other people wanted to kill for her adultery.  

Christ’s first words are of grace, confronting the people threatening and accusing her with their own sinfulness. In this way, he councils non-judgment with the words “let anyone among you who is without sin cast the first stone” (Luke 8:7).  He then further encourages her, not only telling her she is loved the way she is, but also setting her free to live in a new, redeemed and sinless way, with “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and leave your life of sin.”  

Honesty through Grace

Redemptive grace is an absolutely essential concept that can help you in the midst of recovery. Just as God has forgiven you, so you to must learn to forgive yourself.  Drug and alcohol abuse is created and sustained through shame and denial, but the first step to accepting forgiveness is to “confess your sins.”   That means being honest with yourself, having a good, hard, realistic look at your behavior.  

Grace frees you up to be able to do this. No matter what you have done, you are not outside of the love of God. Therefore, you might as well look at yourself honestly.  This will lead you to admitting you have a problem, a very important first step in beginning recovery.

Beyond this, through the Holy Spirit, the believer can have hope that he or she is being sanctified, more like he or she was created to be.  This hope that recovery is possible is going to be a really important as you walk down the sometimes hard road of trying to get sober. Faith in God will enable you to not feel overpowered when things get tough.

Proper Application of Scripture in Daily Life

Addiction is rooted in faulty thinking and unwise decision-making.  The good news is that Christ makes us into new creatures, and transforms our sinful minds into something better.  The road to recovery may be hard, but you can have faith that God can transform and re-create anyone into a more whole person.  Both prayer (talking to God) and Bible study (hearing God speak to us) can be essential ways to transform our thinking, and can be a part of a holistic recovery plan

Hong-Kong Christians Join Protest

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Over the past few weeks, the world’s eyes have been on Hong Kong, and many stories of people engaging in popular, nonviolent direct action in protest over mainland China’s attempt to control the island city’s 2017 election.  There is one aspect of the story that is sometimes getting overlooked by news reports – these protests often have a very strongly Christian flavor.  

Christian Protesters In Hong Kong

17 year-old Joshua Wong, the top leader of Scholarism, one of the main student activist groups organizing the protests, is Christian, and explains that his motivation behind his participation comes from a firm belief that everyone “is born equal and loved by Jesus.”  

In 2012, when Joshua was 15, his organization got 120,000 students to rally and successfully force Hong Kong schools to drop a proposal to introduce pro-Maoist “National and Moral Education” into the curriculum.  Overwhelmed by this success, he has set his sights on total press freedom and universal suffrage for the island city.   

82 year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong, is also taking part in the protests, spending the night with the young students. He himself fled Shanghai in 1949 after the Communist takeover, and thus directly benefited from Hong Kong’s higher levels of religious freedom.

 He is deeply fearful of a Chinese takeover of his adopted home, saying that Hong Kong has an atmosphere of “a culture of the truth and respect for the dignity of people,” while Beijing’s government creates a world with “immediate interests. No spiritual value.”   

Role Of Churches

Joshua Wong and Cardinal Zen are two Christian activists from two different generations, but they represent thousands of people who are both protesting perceived injustice in Hong Kong, and doing so for reasons deeply rooted in Christian faith.  Prayer groups, crosses, and Bible reading has all been a highly visible part of the protest activities.

Churches are playing a role in shaping the direction of the protests, even though they are divided.  Some have officially opposed the protests or encouraged a neutral stance, such as Anglican Archbishop Paul Kwong has encouraged his parishioners to “remain silent” on democracy issues.

However, others have provided first aid and support to participants.  The doors of Methodist, Anglican, and Catholic churches have given refuge and places to sleep, and Catholic and Protestant student groups have worked together to give food to the people camping out outside government buildings.

A Growing Religious Group Showing Its Activist Potential  

According to a report by Operation Mobilization, Hong Kong is home to 320,000 Protestants and 243,000 Catholics, in a city with a total population of 7 million.  

Many of these Christians feel that as Mainland Chinese control of Hong Kong increases, the level of religious tolerance has decreased.   The government has torn a brand new church down, and has demanded others remove crosses from their buildings.  Hence, they have a deep interest in helping to maintain the relative independence of Hong Kong from Beijing control.

In 1997, when the Chinese government took over rule of Hong Kong from Great Brittan, it did so with the promise that it would remain an autonomous region, with freedoms unknown to most people under Chinese rule.  However, many people in Hong Kong feel that the Chinese government has not kept its agreement, especially with its recent demand that all candidates for the upcoming election be approved by the Communist party.   

China has seen phenomenal growth in the Christians, who are able to take a more active role in society, and presenting a real and powerful threat to the country’s avoided Marxist atheism.   Both pro-democracy activists, and Chinese government leaders have expressed that these efforts for more freedom to Hong Kong will eventually influence how people on the mainland.  Thus, as more people in China convert to Christianity, it could have potentially radical transformations on China’s government.